Transferência lateral de genes na evolução: fatos e desafios

quinta-feira, outubro 29, 2009

Horizontal gene transfer in evolution: facts and challenges

Luis Boto*

+ Author Affiliations

Departamento Biodiversidad y Biología Evolutiva, Museo Nacional Ciencias Naturales, CSIC, C/José Gutierrez Abascal 2, 28006 Madrid, Spain



The contribution of horizontal gene transfer to evolution has been controversial since it was suggested to be a force driving evolution in the microbial world. In this paper, I review the current standpoint on horizontal gene transfer in evolutionary thinking and discuss how important horizontal gene transfer is in evolution in the broad sense, and particularly in prokaryotic evolution. I review recent literature, asking, first, which processes are involved in the evolutionary success of transferred genes and, secondly, about the extent of horizontal gene transfer towards different evolutionary times. Moreover, I discuss the feasibility of reconstructing ancient phylogenetic relationships in the face of horizontal gene transfer. Finally, I discuss how horizontal gene transfer fits in the current neo-Darwinian evolutionary paradigm and conclude there is a need for a new evolutionary paradigm that includes horizontal gene transfer as well as other mechanisms in the explanation of evolution.

evolution horizontal gene transfer evolutionary mechanisms


Received September 15, 2009.
Accepted October 9, 2009.
© 2009 The Royal Society